07 October 2020
- Adib’s resignation reflects resurgence in political and sectarian competition, which will further delay government formation
- France will remain unlikely to impose significant sanctions on Hizballah despite threats, incentivising political blocs to pursue sectarian interests
- Anticipated subsidy cuts due to increasing dollar shortages will exacerbate socioeconomic hardships and prompt renewed protests
Prime Minister designate Mustapha Adib announced his resignation on 26 September, less than a month on from his appointment, amidst a political impasse over the formation of a new government due to disagreements over ministerial appointments. Adib’s resignation comes after former Prime Minister Hariri attempted to end the impasse by suggesting the appointment of an independent Shia candidate to the finance ministry four days earlier. In response to Adib’s resignation, French President Macron criticised the Shia Hizballah and Amal Movement parties for hindering government formation and said Lebanese officials now had up to six weeks to form a new government or risk “a different approach”. Hizballah responded by calling Macron’s implied threat of potential sanctions “unjustified and unacceptable”.
Public pressure following the Beirut port explosion on 4 August forced former Prime Minister Hassan Diab’s government to resign on 10 August, although his cabinet has continued to govern in a caretaker capacity pending the formation of a new cabinet. President Michel Aoun on 31 August subsequently appointed Adib, after he was endorsed by a variety of prominent Sunni figures including former prime ministers Saad Hariri, Najib Mikati and Fouad Siniora. Adib’s quick appointment was the result of French pressure, with Macron setting a six-week deadline for government formation. Negotiations quickly stalled however as a result of disagreements over the appointment of the Minister of Finance, which by convention is held by a Shia (see our 23 September report), prompting…